Run Happy - Caroline Turner
I am a firm believer that the principle of ‘move a little more, feel a little better’ can be applied to virtually everyone!
In these unusual and unsettling times, many people have found their routines disrupted and their lives thrown upside down. So, it really isn’t surprising that the mental health of the nation is coming under scrutiny as we endure yet another lockdown.
Most people are pretty clued into the physical health benefits of exercise, but how many people see it as a tool to keep their mental health in check?
My passion is running, but also getting other people running! As with any sport, there are gadgets and gizmos that can jazz up your run. However, the real beauty of running is that you can strip it right back, and it becomes one of the most accessible forms of fitness. There is no upper age limit here and no right or wrong time to start! All you need is a good pair of trainers and you’re off.
You can start small. Run to the end of your road. Run round the block. Don’t worry about pace or form – throw those Phoebe Buffay arms around, if that’s your style! Worried about people watching you? Trust me, they are probably just a little envious, wishing they were out for a run themselves! Just move and do what makes you happy. Once your confidence is building, perhaps increase your distance, set a goal, recruit a friend or just use it as your time for pure escapism.
And when we can venture a little further afield, hit those trails! If you enjoy running around your local roads or parks, trust me the endorphins really will be buzzing when you hit those wide-open spaces! Who knows, you might just get hooked...
Perhaps you’re already a runner? Why not share your passion? Ask your mum or your Grandad to join you. We can’t meet up for a coffee right now, so why not meet up for a run instead? It doesn’t all have to be about PBs or race training and let’s face it, there aren’t many races on the horizon right now anyway! So ask your family members & friends, share your passion and you might just start them on their own running journey.
Many studies have shown that exercise can help individuals deal with depression, anxiety and stress amongst many other common health problems. I’m not a doctor or a psychologist, but what I can do is speak from personal experience.
For me, hitting the road or trails is the perfect time to sort through problems in my mind or forget them entirely while getting lost in music or a podcast. I can confidently say I have never come back from a run feeling worse than when I started! For me, running is my therapy and I would be lost without it. It has got me through some very difficult times in my life but running has also resulted in some of my proudest achievements, my best memories and I’ve met some of the most amazing people as a result of it.
I train a lot and I usually tend to train alone, so with schools being closed on and off over the last year, my running took an unexpected twist when I recruited some mini training partners! Sharing my passion for running and fitness more closely with my kids has brought us all joy. Not only is it quality time together (mostly listening to them talk, they always seem to have so much to say on a run!) but they are also seamlessly incorporating running and fitness into their lives. It isn’t a chore to them, it’s fun and it is this approach to fitness that is so important, and one I hope they carry forward as they grow. Running used to be something Mum did, now it’s something we all do.
So, there you have it, in my opinion running really is for everyone and something that can make us all feel a whole lot better! Find your headspace, use it as a distraction, take pride in being a role model to your kids. Get outside, go run and feel those benefits.